Scientific name: Lycoperdon pyriforme Schaeffer:Persoon
Derivation of name: Pyri- means "pear" and form- means
"shape" or "appearance." Pyriforme refers to the pear shape
of this puffball.
Synonyms: Morganella pyriformis (Schaeffer:Persoon)
Kreisel & D. Kruger
Common name(s): Pear-shaped puffball.
Occurrence on wood substrate: Saprobic;
scattered or in
dense clusters on decaying wood; July through November.
Dimensions: Fruit bodies are 1.5-4.5 cm wide and 2-5 cm
Description:This puffball species is pear-shaped to nearly
globose and supported by a small sterile base attached to the
substrate by white mycelial strands (rhizomorphs). When
young this puffball
is whitish and covered with tiny warts and
granules. With maturity the spore case (peridium) is yellow-
brown to reddish-brown and develops a pore-like
ostiole) at the apex allowing
spores to be "puffed out" when
the outer case is disturbed by
raindrops or twigs striking it.
producing internal tissue (gleba) is moist and white
turning olive-brown and powdery when mature.
Comments: This species is edible only when the internal spore
tissue (gleba) is completely white and uniform in appearance.
Care must be taken not to confuse puffballs with young stages
of Amanita species which are enclosed by a universal veil.
A longitudinal section of a young Amanita will reveal some
tissue differentiation into gills. Gills never occur in puffballs.
More information at MushroomExpert.com:
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Figure 1. Dense clusters of Lycoperdon pyriforme on a
rotting log. Photo
© Fred Habegger.
Figure 2. A closer view of young specimens of
Lycoperdon pyriforme. Photo © William Roody.
Figure 3. This detached piece of bark bearing a cluster of
pear-shaped puffballs was brought to the display tables at
a NEMF foray. The bark was placed on a stone wall for
the photograph. Photo © Gary
Figure 4. A close-up of the surface of one of the young
in Figure 3. Field guides describe the surface of
covered with minute warts, particles,
or granules. Compare this to young specimens of
Lycoperdon perlatum which are covered
Photo © Gary Emberger.
Figure 5. The peridium of a mature specimen. An ostiole
has developed at the top of the puffball. Photo © Gary
Figure 6. Puffballs growing on a stump. Ostioles are
developing on many of these. Photo © Gary Emberger.
Figure 7. Some of the puffballs on the stump shown in
Figure 6 were partially dislodged from the wood. A useful
identification character for this
species is the white
rhizomorphs extending from the puffball bases
to the woody
substrate. Photo © Gary Emberger.
Figure 8. These mature speciemens have developed pores
for release of the spores. The small stick was used to gently
nudge the puffball near it. See Figure 9 for the result.
Photo © Gary Emberger.
These are the puffballs of Figure 8 a moment after
the stick was used to compress the puffball near it. Can you
see the small cloud of spores released? Photo © Gary
Can you see this spore cloud? Photo © Pam
White rhizomorphs of Lycoperdon
pyriforme are evident
throughout the piece of well-rotted
wood broken away from a log bearing a number of
puffballs. The young puffballs are highlighted
Figure 12. Photo © Gary Emberger.
Close-up of the tall, cylindrical immature
pear-shaped puffball visible in Figure 11. It
was interesting to see that the puffballs grow to mature
height before the fertile portion expands.
Photo © Gary